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  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Best of Detroit 2012

Public Square - Staff Picks

Our staff picks for Metro Detroit

Best Example of Journalism Shaking  Things Up

WXYZ-TV's "Wayne County 

Confidential" series

Back in September, WXYZ's investigative team broke the story that Turkia Mullin, newly hired to be director of the Wayne County Airport Authority, received a $200,000 severance payment as she was leaving her post as the cash-strapped county's economic development director. Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano immediately began stonewalling and obfuscating as the scandal exploded, other area media began piling on and then the FBI rolled on in. Since then, there have been a slew of firings and resignations. Two former members of Team Ficano have been charged with federal felonies, and another has been indicted. Mullin was fired from the airport post and repaid the severance. The FBI investigation is ongoing, an attempted recall of Ficano is under way. And the station has rightly received an armful of well-deserved awards for the work. Earning kudos have been reporters Heather Catallo and Ross Jones, editor Randy Lundquist and photographers Ramon Rosario and Johnny Sartin. Ann Mullen, an MT alum, is the executive producer of WXYZ-TV's investigative unit.

Best Change to Local   

Left-Wing Radio

Thom Hartmann's new time slot on WDTW/1310 AM

The way we see it, the sanest voice on the radio airwaves belongs to Thom Hartmann. He provides a wealth of knowledge, rational discourse and honest debate instead of inflammatory rhetoric. A student of history, this Michigan native's nationally syndicated show is a must listen for anyone who wants to be politically well-informed. And the best thing is that listening in this area recently got much easier when Hartmann's live call-in program moved to the afternoon drive-time slot. Check it out weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m.

Best Thing About Local Right-Wing Radio

Charlie Langton's show on   WXYT-AM/1270

Granted, Charlie usually comes off as being entirely overcaffeinated, especially at 6 in the morning. And his voice is set at a constant level: LOUD! But for a guy who occupies the same home on the local radio dial as extremist nut jobs like Glenn Beck and Laura Ingram, Langton is refreshingly — dare we say it — moderate. A lawyer with a regular gig as a commentator on the local Fox TV affiliate, Langton actually uses his radio show to promote actual debate, and does it in a way that's generally respectful. Rush Limbaugh he ain't. And that's a very good thing. Airing 6-9 weekday mornings, the show is worth listening to, even if you're a liberal.

Best Local Reality  TV Stars

The Gold Family

Hardcore Pawn, truTV

The father-and-kids melodrama of Hardcore Pawn, swirling around the daily customer encounters and backroom battles of Detroit pawnbroker Les Gold (could there be a better name for a man in his profession?), his son, Seth, and daughter, Ashley Gold Broad, remains the top-rated show on truTV in its sixth season. It has even spawned a spinoff series, Hardcore Pawn Fort Bragg, to premiere on truTV later this year. It'll have to go some to match the raw outrageousness of the original: Even though you know the family squabbles are magnified for the sake of the camera and Detroiters don't really display their ignorant backsides in public like that for the world to see (do we?), the viewing experience of Hardcore Pawn is an irresistibly guilty delight.

Best Low-Power 

Radio Station

1610-AM, The Station

11758 Sobieski St., Hamtramck; 313-718-1610; am1610.org

Since May 2009, tech geek Steven Cherry has been sending low-power AM signal from his home in Hamtramck. He built a studio for the station later that year, and it regularly hosts local luminaries who create their own radio programming, with Cherry as station manager. Of course, that all sounds much more official than the way he puts it: "We are your weird friends with lots of records," he says, in his typically disarming way. But local rockers have shows, including Jeffrey Fournier and Timmy "Vulgar" Lampinen of Timmy's Organism, as does local tavern owner and record collector Andy Dow of the Painted Lady, as well as MT's own Michael Jackman. The new shows are broadcast live on Sundays, and rebroadcast throughout the week, not just on the airwaves but streaming on the website. Most of the time, it's just freeform fun, but Cherry hopes to engage the community as much as possible. He says, "Call us or send us a text. Leave a clever message and maybe we'll play it on the air."

Best Reason We Still Have a Hoedown in Motown

Tim Roberts, program director, WYCD-FM

The Downtown Hoedown celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer, meaning Detroit undeniably was country before country was cool. But think about it: How many cities south of the Mason-Dixon would relish the idea of stealing away such a massive outdoor musical tradition and claiming it as their own — indeed, believe it should be their birthright? One of the prime movers behind keeping the country kickin' here is Roberts, who this year was named Numero Uno among all country radio programmers in America, according to the publication Radio Ink. He's considered one of the most powerful people in country music and a native Detroiter, so much of what happens surrounding keeping the Hoedown here — including its move to the more spacious and easier-to-access Comerica Park this year — conforms to Roberts' rules of order. And even though the formerly free festival is a ticketed, paid event for the first time, the alternative — thousands of visitors staying away from downtown the first weekend in June, and keeping their cash in their pockets — sounds as sad as a country ballad.

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